Monday 27 May 2019

The Mohammed we drew weeps too, says cartoonist Luz

The new chief editor of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, Gerard Biard, left, and columnist Patrick Pelloux, right, comfort cartoonist Luz during a press conference in Paris, France. Twelve people died when two masked gunmen assaulted the newspapers offices on January 7, including much of the editorial staff and two police. It was the beginning of three days of terror around Paris that saw 17 people killed before the three Islamic extremist attackers were gunned down by security forces. Charlie Hebdo had faced repeated threats for depictions of the prophet, and its editor and his police bodyguard were the first to die (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
The new chief editor of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, Gerard Biard, left, and columnist Patrick Pelloux, right, comfort cartoonist Luz during a press conference in Paris, France. Twelve people died when two masked gunmen assaulted the newspapers offices on January 7, including much of the editorial staff and two police. It was the beginning of three days of terror around Paris that saw 17 people killed before the three Islamic extremist attackers were gunned down by security forces. Charlie Hebdo had faced repeated threats for depictions of the prophet, and its editor and his police bodyguard were the first to die (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Charlie Hebdo will publish the front page showing a caricature of the Prophet Mohammad holding a sign saying "Je suis Charlie" in its first edition since Islamist gunmen attacked the satirical newspaper. With demand surging for the edition due on Wednesday, the weekly planned to print up to 3 million copies and in sixteen languages, dwarfing its usual run of 60,000 (REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer)
Cartoonist Renald Luzier, better known as Luz
Cartoonist Renald Luzier, known as Luz attends a press conference in Paris, France. The surviving staff of Charlie Hebdo is putting out an unprecedented 3 million copies of its upcoming issue (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo columnist Patrick Pelloux (C), cartoonist Luz (L) and Liberation editor in chief Laurent Joffrin (R) attend a news conference at the French newspaper Liberation offices in Paris (REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer)

The front cover of today's seminal Charlie Hebdo magazine was drawn by Renald Luzier, one of its surviving cartoonists in the wake of the horrific attack which killed 12 at its offices.

It portrays the Prophet Mohammed holding a sign which reads 'Je suis Charlie'. Here, the cartoonist better known as Luz explains the creation of the cover, in full: "I invoked all the talents of the magazine, all those who were not there any more, all those were still there, I said to myself, we must do a drawing that above all makes us laugh, and not one on the emotional charge we are victims of.

"I had the idea of drawing this character of Mohammed, as it's my character, because he existed, at least in people's hearts, and in any case he exists when I draw him.

"He is a character that got our offices burned, and a character who at first got us treated as the great white knights of the freedom of the press because the offices had burned down.

"Then a year later when we redrew the character we were treated as dangerous provocative and irresponsible. So this character led us to be called either white knights or provocateurs, whereas we are above all cartoonists who draw little people like children do.

"The terrorists were once kids, they drew like us, like all kids, then one day they perhaps lost their sense of humour, perhaps their child soul able to see the world from a bit of a distance, because that's Charlie - being able to draw the world from a small distance. So I drew saying to myself: 'I am Charlie'. That was my idea, but it wasn't enough.

"The only idea left was to draw Mohammed, I am Charlie. Then I looked at him, he was crying. Then above, I wrote: 'All is forgiven', and then cried. We had the front page, we had finally found this bloody front page. This was our front page.

"This was not the front page the world wanted us to draw, it was our front page. This is not the front page that the terrorists want us to draw, as there are no terrorists in it, just a man who cries: it's Mohammed. I am sorry that we drew him again, but the Mohammed we drew is a Mohammed who is crying above all." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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